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Buying or Selling a Home in Texas – Do I Need a Lawyer?

Posted by Michael Keller | Jun 14, 2021 | 1 Comment

Lots of buyers and sellers decide that a lawyer is not required to protect them in real estate transactions.  Instead, they believe that the real estate agent will fully protect their interests, even though they may be putting hundreds of thousands of dollars or more at risk.  Is this a wise decision or one that could come back to haunt them?

Potential Pitfalls

If everything goes according to plan, there may be no difference.  But Texas law is clear that a real estate broker cannot give legal advice, even though they help with tasks that border on legal ones, such as preparing a home purchase contract.  And it's not always clear whether a question involves legal advice or is within the realm of what real estate agents routinely deal with. 

For example, a real estate agent can usually talk knowledgeably about neighborhood demographics and comparative prices, but what if the prospective buyer needs to know whether they can cancel the purchase contract and get their money back? 

  • Or what happens if the prospective seller is offered a cash sale and the buyer later tries to close with partial financing?  
  • Or what happens if the seller wants to give you a special warranty deed and not a general warranty deed?
  • Who will review your title commitment to ensure that your title policy has you covered?

There are many, many legal issues which can and do come up in real estate transactions. Without a lawyer, you may be needlessly exposing yourself to risk.

Recourse Against the Agent?

Even worse, when the question concerns something that can be perceived as a legal issue, the prospective buyer may face a defense by an agent that no causal link exists between the advice given and the damages suffered-- precisely because an agent cannot render legal advice.  So there may be no legal recourse for someone who relies on an agent's advice.

Why You Should Hire a Lawyer

It is my personal belief that engaging a real estate lawyer to guide you through the process is worth the investment to obtain peace of mind in most situations.  A real estate lawyer is not meant to replace a real estate agent, but to act a supplement to a real estate agent. Certainly, a lawyer's advice and negotiating skills can be invaluable when there are issues about timing, title, inspections, property structural damages, or property imperfections. 

Many also advise engaging a lawyer when the purchaser is a first time buyer, when the property is on the market because of a foreclosure, or when the property has suffered major structural damages, among many other reasons.  

Whatever the reason, it can be critical to have a lawyer on your side that can spot issues and respond to questions that affect you.  Real estate agents do not have the expertise and education to deal with complex legal issues.  And despite the integrity of the agent involved, they have an inherent conflict of interest in that they get paid only if the deal closes.

The Keller Firm Can Help

Are you considering buying or selling a home in Texas? The Keller Firm has considerable experience in assisting both buyers and sellers of real estate in Texas. Contact The Keller Firm to discuss your matter today.

Disclaimer: This website is for informational purposes only and does not provide legal advice. Please do not act or refrain from acting based on anything you read on this site. Using this site or communicating with The Keller Firm through this site does not form an attorney/client relationship. 

About the Author

Michael Keller

Attorney and Founder

Comments

Buyers Sydney Reply

Posted Feb 13, 2022 at 18:50:25

Great post! Thanks for sharing your article.

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